Content ID


Intense pressure on land and water for agriculture

One-third of agricultural land worldwide, more than 2 million square miles in all, suffers from soil degradation caused by human use, said an FAO report on the mounting pressure on land and water for food production. “The pressures on soil, land and water are now intense and many are stressed to a critical point,” wrote FAO director general Qu Dongyu in a foreword.

All but a sliver of the food supply is produced on land, but there is little room to expand the amount of land in agricultural use. Current methods for increasing production are not proving sustainable, said the report. “High levels of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are stretching the productive capacity to the limit and severely degrading land and environmental services.”

With the global population on the rise, the demand for food is expected to increase 50%. Demand for food would collide with the impact of global warming, which could change rainfall patterns and force changes in the mixture of crops grown regionally.

Land degradation is reversible but will require reforms in the way land and water are administered, according to the report. “Planning a way out of this downward spiral of land degradation offers promise when combined with forward-looking climate finance for mitigation and adaptation.”

Water scarcity jeopardizes global food security as well as the welfare of 3.2 billion people living in agricultural areas, said the report.

“The state of the world’s land and water resources for food and agriculture: Systems at breaking point,” is available here.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
Read more about

Talk in Marketing